June 6, 2014#

Okay poke your tongue out and say ARRRRR . . .

Lets do a Business check up this Monday LIVE on CreativeLive.  You know when I say Business Check up I mean a YOU check up (and a little butt kicking sometimes too) I am flying up to Seattle for a day to talk to you guys.

I want REAL questions!

HARD questions?

HONEST questions!

I will not answer how do I tape my V Flats together or how long is my Ottoman.  (which by the way all of those questions are being talked about regularly on the facebook group IBWS on Facebook)

I want to talk about real business challenges right now.  I will show you three studios working within my business model.  Their successes their failures their hurdles and their real averages what their new business goals are and they will be live with me on the show!  I made them photograph their studios too so you can have a look around these photographers will give you an honest look at start up for those of you that think it was easy for me.

Image 1: Amy & Dustin Droz Wedding & Glamour Image 2: Maupana Reed Mataele Glamour Image 3: Nikki Closser Wedding & Glamour

Image 1: Amy & Dustin Droz Wedding & Glamour Image 2: Maupana Reed Mataele Glamour Image 3: Nikki Closser Wedding & Glamour

I am also bringing in Lori Patrick she runs so many amazing facebook communities she started IBWS which has 16,000 members and she also runs 28 days study group for those of you working through the biggest workshop I ever did.

Lori Patrick Photographer/Community builder Facebook group guru

Lori Patrick Photographer/Community builder Facebook group guru

You can ask me any personal questions you like I will answer them honestly.  PUT THEM HERE ON THIS BLOG POST. We can talk about Fears, Challenges, things you just cannot get past.

Write your questions here on my blog.  I will try to answer as many as I can.  See you on Monday You can RSVP by clicking here  add your questions below here.  would you like to be in the audience with me on monday? CLICK HERE 

THIS IS A FREE CLASS it is not for sale.  It is ongoing support and accountability for where you are at in this moment.  You will love to see the progress these studios are making and it’s a great way to gauge where you are at and how well you are doing and to make a Power list on what you need to confront next.

Marketing Sales Service

Marketing Sales Service

Folio building, The reveal Wall

Folio building, The reveal Wall

Sue Bryce Blog Challenges 3 Sue Bryce Blog Challenges 7

Shooting with out a studio getting started

Shooting with out a studio getting started

Glam the Dress, ongoing marketing to your current database

Glam the Dress, ongoing marketing to your current database

Attracting a client that matches you and your values.

Attracting a client that matches you and your values.




  1. Looks like a great class! Yay for Lori Patrick. She is indeed a valuable leader. Her work in the groups has been so helpful. What a treasured community we’re building there. Thank you, Sue, for getting the ball rolling and continually inspiring us. And thank you to all the photographers who make this such an exciting, supportive growing industry!

  2. Hi Sue… How important is it to keep your editing style consistent within a session?? I’ve noticed for some reason, I’ll edit some images clean and basic, sometimes I go too light, sometimes I go too dark, sometimes too artistic and am always finding myself going back and changing things… When you do a session do you have an idea already in mind of how you’d like to edit them?? Do you ask the client what they prefer what kind of mood they want to come across??

  3. Questions here please

    • Hi Sue,
      Such brilliant timing! I opened my studio 6 months ago, after overcoming many blocks and steaming ahead getting setup with hair stylist, makeup artist, painted v-flats, studio welcome pdf, style guide pdf, studio samples of folio box, gift vouchers printed…. yep, I did it all. Supplied vouchers to charity days, a private school’s Melbourne Cup luncheon and sure enough, got a few bookings. I have nailed the sales part. Out of 8 shoots, my average is $1200, top sale to date $4000…BUT, and here it comes, I got busy, did not continue to market, there are no more bookings and now I may lose the studio as I struggle to meet rent. There is not enough money in the bank to print new material and honestly, I feel so tired after burning on all cylinders for 6 months, I wonder if I have the energy to keep going. So, how can I get the marketing coggs turning, with no money to invest, and just me to rely on, with a family that is demanding of time and attention. I built in and thought they would come :( Thanks so much in advance, Clare x

  4. OK here is my question, actually 2: Concurring my biggest fear is “what if I can’t get great shots that they will like”

    Im also shooting a mother – daughter (ages 50ish and late 20’s) portrait this weekend outdoors in the evening- Poses, I want something different that makes me stand out from the standard photographers, I want different, something WOW. I get to the location and I get brain freeze on ideas on how to pose. HELP

  5. Hello Sue! Can’t wait for Monday’s course – I’m always inspired by what you teach and the combination of honesty about your struggles and the tough love you present.
    Here’s where I’m at – I’ve found my niche (children’s fine art) – I’ve taken your advice to heart, and am doing the work but have yet to become profitable. My debt load is high, cash flow is minimal and my husband is who’s supporting me and our children. So what I want to know is: How long did you struggle, busting your butt before you started to get regular bookings and consistent sales? Was it months, years? Did you rely on credit in the early days? If so, for how long and when did you start being in the black? Then when you started over in Australia, how long did it take to become profitable again?
    Sometimes it seems like many are overnight successes (or they’re just faking it) – I’d like to know what a realistic timeframe is in order to not be discouraged in the short run. How long does one need to persevere before throwing in the towel? (Though my heart breaks at the thought of doing that…)

  6. I am just starting out trying to photograph women, with the intent that you have stated – helping them see their special beauty, and I want to focus on older women. However, as someone who is very conscious of how I look and cringe at every photo of me (especially as I age) I think women have an idea that they still look a certain age, and then you show them a large, hi-def, sharp image of themselves – even if beautifully lit and in a flattering pose…how do you guide them from still zeroing in on their flaws. I don’t have the skill you do yet, but as I learn – I don’t want my models to run away, and then if they are critical of the photo, I feel deflated and like I failed.

  7. Hi Sue, looking forward to your new workshop on monday! You are so inspiring, you really hit the nail on the head as they say in the Netherlands in your earlier workshops on CL, you really got through to me, made me cry about 10 times, and you really inspired me, thank you for that!!
    I am a Dutch (based in Belgium) lawyer-turned-photographer or rather trying to be.
    I started on my portfolio in fashion and portrait about 9 months ago, after years of being to insecure about my photography to do something with it. I’m learning a lot doing portfolio-shoots, got my first publications recently, but I have almost no paying jobs, people tell me how much they love my work, but I really struggle finding clients. How do I get my work out there, how do I get people to notice my work and find clients, without spending money on it, as I have none left.. ;-)
    I have a website (still work in progress), a facebook-page, an account on 500px, I do some free advertising online, what other ways are there that work for others to get some more paid jobs? Thanks a lot, can’t wait to tune in on monday!!

  8. I’m soooo excited to see this workshop On Monday, and thank you for taking the time to do this.

    I have been wanting to make a change with my photography, zeroing in on empowering women through photography. I swear I think about it all day, and can’t wait to launch in the fall.

    I have many questions, but perhaps the biggest, is where to start. What should be my main focus as I move towards this new chapter in my work? Bettering my skills? Working on the marketing aspect? Getting over my self doubt?

    I look forward to the sitting with my tea and my computer on Monday and soaking it all in!

  9. Oh Sue – why do I open your emails?! Yet another one I will need to purchase! LOL Love you and all you give to us!

    Here’s a question – what if on those rare occasions, you are simply not in the mood? You have 50 things annoying you, it’s hot, the family you’re photographing isn’t together – everyone is staring at you for direction and you are just drawing a complete blank. This particular day you are just not into it. I notice that someone else had a similar question – brain freeze!

  10. Hi Sue! I know you are in the higher-end when it comes to pricing your packages and what it all includes. Being that you are well known and have been around for a long time in the photography business, how would someone like myself (I’ve been doing it part-time for 4 years) introduce higher pricing on my packages for clients? I’m currently revamping my business name, branding, and even my style of shooting (going from the standard outdoor portraits to a more stylized and glamorous portraits) and this now requires more one-on-one meeting time, preparation (wardrobe, sets, etc), and higher end products for final presentation. I just want to present everything to my clients in a way that the higher session fees will be worth it to them as I know my work is worth it. Thanks for the help!

  11. Thank you Sue for checking in with us again, it is perfect timing for me because I have built the foundation of my business and now all that’s left to do is market it. But I don’t. I stop myself. I fall through. I haven’t even mailed my 10 vouchers yet out of some place inside me that must be scared. I can’t pinpoint what I’m scared of though. Is it being successful? Is it hard work? What is stopping me from sending them? What is stopping me from calling the clothing boutique and asking if they’re interested in partnering? I know my work is good enough and I’m confident in my prices. I have a beautiful natural light studio ready to go! But I’m stuck in this planning and preparing stage. It’s comfortable. It’s also boring and full of the limits I’m trying to get myself out of. Actually my story is much like your in the beginning: I’m $15,000 in debt making $400 a week. I’m also 25. Making this business happen seems like the only way out right now and I want it so badly.

    So to wrap up, I would love to hear you talk about how we can go about finding what those blocks inside of us really are and tools we can use to push past them. I’m just not sure what’s really stopping me and why I keep procrastinating.

    I’d also love to hear you talk about the idea of “faking it til you make it.” I’m a big fan of this strategy! Because of my prices ($1800 large folio box, $1200, $720 for 6) I feel like I have to pretend that I’m not new at this. I think I’m a bit scared that people will discover I’m hiding the fact that I’m new in business and see right through me or something. I don’t know! Maybe that’s where a lack of confidence shows up?

    How do we force ourselves to “just do it.” It seems like ultimately the answer to any fear is to “just do it.” So how do we get over ourselves and “just put ourselves out there.” ?

    Thank you Sue! You are such an inspiration and your business model has given me the light at the end of the tunnel for my life right now. I’m so excited to get through the tunnel but I think I’m in the middle right now.

    Thanks again!

    Katie Nixon

  12. I seem to lose my beauty session bookings to the more affordable headshot option. The common phrase is “I just want one really good picture of myself”. My original thought was that by giving them a taste with a beautiful headshot image, they would want the whole experience, but I’m not succeeding at converting those sessions.

    I am ordering bigger wall portraits to display( you sell what you show, right?) and hoping that will help, but these two business seem to be confusing each other. Also, re-designing my website and leading into the beauty sessions with before & after images.. will these steps be enough? Do you keep the elevator pitch focused on the main beauty product ? Is it a bad idea to try and bring them in first for a headshot? We have a really strong women’s group in our local chamber of commerce and I feel like I can confidently pitch a headshot that’s beautiful and powerful at the same time…

  13. I have improved on my posing following what you have taught. What i still struggle with is directing them to relax their hands. Specially in the covergirl pose. When i say soft hands, ballet hands they are still stiff. I even show them, they still dont get it unless their hands are long and thin. Am i missing something? Should i convey it in a different way?

  14. My biggest challenge is a combination of three things: staying organized while working full time, a husband, a 4 year old and I’m half way through my second pregnancy; staying focused; and keeping the business end of things simplified. I like many unique products and want to offer those…but also feel obligated to offer the typical products as well. I have boiled it down to the fact that I am a certified scatter brain or haven’t been diagnosed with ADD as of yet. Where to start?!

  15. I am excited for Monday’s discussion and so truly grateful for you, Sue! My first question is this: I have a brand new business and a fully equipped home based studio, and I am NOW a full-time photographer. I have obtained proposals to design a responsive design website, logo and SEO for all pages, & branding. The costs have doubled in the past 2 years to equal a used small car! Is this a worthwhile investment at the beginning with little incoming revenue yet? I have studio training and visual arts education, feel certain of my niche. I am an LLC. Seems so many photographers put up a nice but unsearchable website. What are your thoughts on this? Are there ways to lessen the cost? Or is it a part of this business just like buying a new lens or light stand? Thanks!

    Q#2: Length of the session. I have thought of offering longer session shoot times than I will eventually offer – say, up to 4 hours – in the beginning, to allow ME to handle my fears of not getting the shots the client will love & to warm up to the camera and sets. Is this a wise move or just a fear-based one?

  16. would you like to be in the audience with me on monday? http://cr8.lv/confchallengesaud

  17. I live in a small town of 5000. How can I make this work in a small community where people value outdoors, hunting, fishing, camping… And the thought of investing any sort of money in themselves is thought of as being vain and/or snotty? Are there markets that cannot support glamour photography? I know you have said in the past that all you need are women… But in a small community where everyone is very tight knit, and don’t seem to place any value on glamour photos, I haven’t been able to catch a break.

  18. Sue…finding you on creativeLIVE, and experiencing how I began to feel after I witnessed your spirit there, was the most amazing thing I’ve experienced in a very long time. It’s obvious to me how many lives you’ve changed just by being who you are (and all of the work you’ve done on yourself!), and I’ve become so excited and re-filled with joy of having a much clearer map to follow now with where I’m going because of your generous mentoring. It’s as if you helped me finally “create” the “me” I’ve been trying to find for a very long time.

    My question is this….I have been a jazz vocalist long before I got into photography in the 1980s. There were times in the past when I had to deal with a set back in my music career because I put myself “out there” way before things were ready and prepared, and then I lost business because I didn’t look professional to the industry. This is making me be adamant about wanting to set up my home studio photography business correctly and professionally from the get-go because I want future clients to see I have a professional business even though it’s in my home.

    With all of the creativeLIVE classes I’ve been watching, I am taking all of the advice and working on getting this all together but I’ve begun to get so overwhelmed with how much I’m seeing needs to be put together with running a professional photography business! There is a LOT to setting up a business than I ever realized — there are SOO many questions to ask myself and answer for my own business…so much mental work….developing my value, determining my specific prices and creating a price list, brochures, demo products to show clients, website, determining my style, practicing your posing techniques so they are fluid and natural, PDFs, accounting processes, and SOOO much more…it just seems I am forever “getting ready.”

    And, wanting to keep my business manageable and thinking that means being the only one doing everything is the way I’ve been doing it so far. I’m looking into finding where I can outsource some it but haven’t done it yet. I have DEFINITELY put so many MORE beautiful things in place because of all of your suggestions, and I’m so much more confident and excited about how it’s all falling into place. I know I’m a perfectionist, but I’ve been working on this since your 28-Days With Sue Bryce came out…. Does it really take this much time to get it all in place, or am I just slow? Am I just using this preparation to feed a fear? You don’t know me so I’m not sure how you might be able to address this for me, but how do I tell the difference between still needing to get ready so I look professional and just letting it be a crutch?

    Is there anyone else out there feeling the same way?

    Thanks for listening. I’ll be there for sure on Monday to absorb all I can!

    • I would like to echo Clare’s sentiments. I too feel very overwhelmed by trying to get everything in place before truly starting my business. I am moving in super slow motion with three small children. Lately painting my V flats and ripping out old carpet have taken priority over practicing posing or shooting. I often remind myself that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and while there is no ladder, there are some important boxes that should be checked before leaving the start gate. Separating those important boxes from the “crutches” is difficult.
      What are your words of wisdom for people like me who are jumping in head first as opposed to more gradually building a business? (I mean it’s gradual whether we like it or not but we are trying to tackle everything all at once and feel like we are going nowhere)

      Looking forward to Monday. Thanks for a day in the “Church of Sue” as my husband calls it. Preach it, sista.

  19. Yes! I would enjoy that!

  20. Yes! I would enjoy being in the audience!

  21. My biggest challenge is attracting my ideal client and converting enquiries into bookings.

    I did portfolio building with a variety of people, made 2 BTS videos, blogged my sessions with the focus on their story. Put a referral system into place so that the people who did building sessions with me could become my ambassadors. Joined networking groups to work on my elevator pitch (which is still not great, but getting there).

    What I know I need to work on
    Being assertive and approaching people cold
    Still having issues with leaving/receiving and scarcity mentality (June is my month to shift perception when I see bills to work on this)
    Deciding how best to strategically align and who with to boost enquiries
    Refining who my ideal client is and how to target them (I have a general idea – someone who knows they are worthy of feeling as beautiful as they look, that wants to tell their story to their family/friends and knows the value of good photography)

  22. To Clare: Yes, I can agree ! I am in those prep stages, too! I am taking the stance that I will bust out of the gates prepared and feel more freedom to create & more confidence since I will have covered every last base before I ask clients to trust me. There is a balance – but I recently heard some advice: the more structure you put in place, the more freedom you find in being self-employed. And no matter how long one is in business, there is always something to learn. This advice helps me when I am facing all the decisions, endless goals; and feel as if I should be ready tomorrow, which I am not….!

  23. I would love to know a little bit more about the sales process. I have gone through 28 days later and plan on fully implementing glamour photography in the fall after my maternity leave is over. I would almost like a walk-through of what a sales meeting looks like after the photos are taken. You show the slideshow on a tv to music? If you’re only showing 25 images, I imagine the viewing on the tv is t long. Then you show them the reveal wall? What does that look like? After they see the wall, do you sit them down at a table and say, “what would you like to buy ” or do you have them pick what they want from the reveal wall?

  24. Hi Sue.
    I have been following you since your first appearance on Creative Live. You still have something new to offer every time I watch you! I have a lot of fear…but that’s not my question, and I’m sure that will be addressed…I love your style, I love your outlook. I love all that you do. My biggest hurdle is, I don’t want to photograph women with extensive hair and make up. I want to photograph them as they would normally appear, as people see them everyday. And make the “real” person feel special without the added makeup and “fluffy” hair. I am not trying to demean the makeover sessions, I think they are great and I understand it’s an experience you are selling. But I don’t feel “real” or true to myself shooting them. I have tried a few, and they were successful. I did not charge for them as they were my sister, sister in law and good friend. They all loved the results. I tried to promote the sessions through Facebook and a blog, that’s all, with no results……
    BIG AHAA MOMENT as I am composing my question I have realized, this is not my purpose. This is not what I should be photographing! I have kept on posting BECAUSE I have just realized this type of photography (the makeover “glamour”session) is NOT what I want to pursue as a photographer. Perhaps there are others out there that are struggling with the glamour business…wanting to create what you do…but find a block…perhaps this is their block too. Maybe they haven’t found their “why” yet. (got that term from another CL instructor) And maybe, because your work is so beautiful and inspiring, they see your success and think they can do it too. That’s what I did. I tried, but it didn’t feel real. Maybe that’s why I didn’t get out there and make connections, I didn’t create relationships with shop keepers and others in my community. I suppose if I had to ask a question after all this has been put on the table, it would be “What do I do now?” And I could probably answer that too, I need to find my “why”. Now, how do I do that?

  25. I feel very cofindent in my shooting and people skills. I really need help in the beginning and the end.

    The beginning. How do I get people to call me? I advertise, have a website, and I shoot. But to consistently get clients who are willing to pay a premium for my work? How do I find these people? I don’t know the best avenues to find clients.

    The end – how do I display my work so that people are excited enough to spend the sums of money that you talk about? My clients are happy to tears over my photos, but I am dropping the ball somewhere. I can’t seem to launch those emotions into a large dollar sale.


    1) Networking with other businesses – What you found works & DOES NOT work & what we should stay away from

    2) The reveal wall: If we’re just starting out with Modern Women’s Portraits, do you suggest we eventually add the reveal wall, after we’ve done several sessions & their ordering session when we show them their photos OR dive in & have a reveal wall right from the beginning, without letting them decide what photos they want at their ordering session???

    THANKS SO MUCH! Love you, your heart, your journey & all the sharing you’ve done for us. YOU ARE A UNIQUE, BEAUTIFUL GEM. :O)

  27. Hi Sue, my question is how would you pose plus size woman?
    Have you ever though about writing a book? Maybe on posing?

    I am also struggling getting clients, I get clients but not enough, I charge very little (and keep mean very little) as I am a uni student, I get alot of people interested but even though k charge very little they don’t seem they want to pay! How would I advertise my work but most importantly myself? I put in 110% into every shoot I do.

  28. How do you distinguish between a block and an actual issue?

  29. Sometimes I am feeling so scattered. What processes did you use to schedule time to work ON your business and IN your business when you were a one-woman show?

    Looking forward to Monday. Thank you Sue!

    Congrats on being the face of Olay Stories!

  30. How do you distinguish between a personal block and an external issue or problem that you need to address? For example… How do I know if the lack of inquiries has to do with my own personal blocks, or if I need to re-address my marketing efforts?

  31. I have only sold two folio boxes in last year. My clients always want to purchase the 8×8 graphi albums. I can’t get past the $710 profit margin on this sale. I want to sell more folios!

  32. Hi Sue, my biggest hurdle since 2008 has been my kids. I had a successful freelance design business before I became a mom. I know how to build a business from scratch. I know how to work hard and make things happen. But since I became I mom I can’t get anything done. I’ve considered day care. Too expensive. I’ve hired a teenage babysitter. Too unreliable. I’ve advertised for an older sitter. Nobody is interested. My husband gets annoyed when I leave him with the kids on his days off. I schedule with clients and a kid gets sick so I have to cancel. I feel I cannot charge a premium rate because I can’t provide an excellent customer service experience with the distraction of my kids. I see other moms of young children doing this and so I’ve not given up entirely but I wonder, how do they do it?

  33. Sue,
    I’m 21, I’m a new mommy and have been a wife for 2 years. I’ve been taking pictures for 5 years, but have only just started to make a little bit of money(by little I mean a couple hundred dollars a month) . I’m in love with your business model, style, and teaching. Since following you I’ve discovered my passion and talent in photographing women. My question is where to begin. I don’t really have clients outside of friends and family(who expect everything free). Where do you start in getting work? How do you calculate rates? How do you overcome fear of walking up to someone and saying, “can I take your portrait? And will you pay me $1000 for it?” I knows work is valuable, how do I find clients who feel the same way?

  34. Does product packaging affect the perceived value of my products? I am thinking of spending extra money and time to give boutique packaging in the effort to attract a higher paying clientele. Is this silly?

  35. Hey Sue! Thanks for the check up. I am looking forward to this check up.
    I currently am residing in Japan near Tokyo. My husband is military and I have tried marketing to the military community but I find nobody really biting at the prices I want to charge. How do you market to women who may not have the extra funds? Also would it be a bad idea to take on 2-3 of my friends and do test shoots with them for advertising purposes?

    My next hurdle right now is dealing with criticism. How do you move past that and stay so positive? Every time you post and talk it’s such a breath of fresh air. Is there anything you tell yourself when this stuff happens?

    I know I have a million questions for you but this is it for now. Again thank you so much for all the help and love you give everyone. You are truly an inspiration to so many.

  36. Thank you so much for doing this, Sue!

    My biggest hurdle has been marketing. I put out vouchers, get response, and no one wants to do it because they dont want to pay for any images. I know that I do good work, but Im having trouble getting it in front of people! What do you suggest? How should I change my voucher system? Im currently charging the $400/$800/$1200 structure.

  37. My biggest block/hurdles: my full time job. Marketing. Networking (because of the day job time constraints – maybe that’s just an excuse though….) And my own considerable self doubts!

    I try not to do photography stuff at the day job (I still need to keep it!) so my weekends are the only time I have to really dedicate myself to photography. And I don’t know how/what to focus on to get the hooks out there to get clients in to my home-studio.

    I don’t know what to do and I’m afraid I’m beginning to think “it’s all just too hard.” But I’m not quite ready to give up just yet!

  38. How do I get past my block/fear of putting myself out there and pushing out of my comfort zone? I’m in a privileged position in that I have access to the most amazing women in very influential positions (for recommending me to others) who have heard me talk of my new direction in photography and want their photos taken by me because they know and trust my current photography. I have everything in place to send out gift vouchers to these women, I’m just not doing it and am coming up with any excuse I can to put it off.

  39. From the other day, client didn’t have a very good relaxed mouth (either do I : )) Had a hard time asking for sexy no smile faces.

    How do I coach my makeup artist? Should all my clients get pretty similar makeup? Do you decide how much makeup you want when you choose your outfits?

    My shoots take so long… 1/2 hr to set up. Almost an hour with client and HMU 2 hours of shooting and breakdown. Is this about normal? It’s fun, but exhausting.

    I get stumpped with my poses…do I just need to study harder? I feel like my images aren’t as authentic/good as yours. Uh-oh do I sense a block? :)

    Could go on-and-on…

    Thank you Sue, for being you. :)

  40. Hi sue, i’m a student who barely makes end meet and recently quit my job because my life was really stagnant and the environment had become toxic for my well being. my issue isn’t with skill as i know that comes with practice and i do a lot of that, the problem is finding the right people to pay for my services, as in how do i get it in front of the right people who actually value good work. Thanks so much for doing this, it’s really appreciated.

  41. Sue, I am a young photographer (age 20). I recently moved to a new state and I am working on building my own business. I am so grateful for all the support I have from my fellow photographers, but It has still been very challenging. I want to learn how to get new people I meet to trust me (potential clients and business owners). I want to learn step by step how to have a successful relationship with another business. Although I have a lot to learn, I see my youth as one of my greatest strengths! Thank you for your authenticity and truth!


  42. workflow question- I just did a session with a woman, her mom and her 14 year old daughter. I was trying to get every version (each alone, mom with daughter, mom with her mom, daughter with grandmom) for every setting (wall, chair, ottoman, chair etc). did I make it too complicated? Should I just pick & choose?

  43. Hi Sue. I think you are absolutely amazing!! What are your views regarding a photographer running a one man band? I have just completed a make up course and am considering doing a short hair dressing course so I can do the hair and make up for the clients for the photo shoot. I have a Bachelor of Arts majoring in photography. I love your style of photography and would love to be able to earn a living doing what you do. However, I am thinking of doing a whole package (free hair and make up) by myself so I can save on cost as I first start. What do you think?


  44. This is a total newbie question, but here it is….how do you go from portfolio building (i.e. Offering free shoots) to getting a $1000+ sale? Especially when many other photographers in your area are offering shoots for $150, where the client gets all digital photos. Yes, that’s $150 for the shoot, editing, AND 30 digital photos.

  45. Hiya, love! Thank you for this… My question is how do you get women to splurge on themselves after you’ve shown them how faboous they are and have given them exemplary service? It may just come down to marketing toward a different demographic I need, but these ladies don’t want to part with a cent.

    Thank u!

  46. Do you ever host vendor events? Strictly for networking with other vendors. If you’ve hosted them or attended them, would you suggest them? I’m looking for more ways to reach other vendors, salons, artists, etc. in the area and was thinking about hosting a networking night out.

    Also, how would you suggest offering to shoot for a business? There’s a new salon opening up soon and I would love to pitch to them the idea of doing a few sessions for their clients after they get their hair done so they can use the images in their salon. Would you charge full price for prints or give them a discount since they’re a business? How would you go about pitching this idea to them? :)

    Thank you SO much for your time that you put into making us better photographers and better business leaders. You are absolutely amazing and I’m so very thankful for the knowledge you choose to share with us so openly!!!

  47. Question : How do organize and manage your time into all the departments needed especially for startups and make a system that runs efficiently ? Things feel like all over the place. So much to do and so much to learn.

  48. I don’t know where I’ve lost my way, but I cannot find portrait clients in my new town. I have done free shoots, and blogged, but nothing. I don’t know where to start in this new market. Not a single (family) portrait inquiry since I moved here in late 2012.

  49. I am a single mom of 2 and work a full-time corporate job Monday – Friday. I shoot every weekend. How do I answer the question – why don’t I have any weekend availability? Does having a 9 – 5 diminish my PERCEIVED value as a photographer?

  50. Hi Everyone.. I have shot some wonderful clients, they loved the work they have told me what they would like print and frame wise but won’t commit to ordering?

  51. I have a full time office job that keeps me away from photography all week (unless I want to run the risk of doing my business work at the day job!!!!); with only my weekends free – this is my biggest block/issue/challenge and I just can’t get past it.
    I can’t quit the day job yet, – it pays the bills and the mortgage… nor can I find a photography industry job here in Adelaide that I could swap it for.. ! would love to hear you kick my butt about this coz I can’t break through this wall blocking me and any progress I could be making.

  52. Hi, Sue! Huge fan! My questions are surrounding getting started in the photography business. What is an appropriate amount to charge for photographers new to the business? Traditional business practices/models would suggest looking for comparatives in your area and pricing similar to that; however, this seems to be a bit more ambiguous with photographers. I’ve looked in my area at photographers with similar levels of experience, and they are charging $125 for a 60-minute session and a disc of 30 edited images and a print release. I think this is SEVERELY underpriced because the quality of their work is so much higher than that. How do you navigate around this type of price erosion and break into the business?

  53. Hey Sue
    Posing!!! Or rather …I forget the poses. Client in front of me and all I seem to do is cookie cut from the last client. I have been cookie cutting for the last year. I have all your posing manuals and map out the shoot when my client is in hair & make up . I get my ‘safe’ shots and then my mind goes blank!!! Soooo frustrating. I even check my map and a manual when they get change but it doesn’t seem to help.
    Oh and systems! Post production systems. I don’t have any, just go with the flow but thinking I could do with a system or three to be more efficient.
    Forever grateful :)

  54. Business concern: How do I get my clients to invest more time into their own prep? I talk to them in person, I have several PDFs that I send in relation to buying/borrowing/renting/manicures/spray tans/skin prep that are short, I have a Pinterest board for ideas for them, but I have people come over with wrinkled sundress smocks and sunburns. I’m just not that good yet at editing, so it’s taking me forever to go beyond the routine editing to edit out tan lines and clothing wrinkles. (I end up using my accoutrament alot, but I don’t want everyone in the same dresses). When I ask specifically ‘Tell me what you are bringing over?” and I get a vague response. They are always so excited about the shoot, but how do I get clients more excited to invest in shoot prep? I feel like there is something I can do to help them…


  55. I’m just starting to transition into speacialising in women’s portraits. My previous work is families babies ect.
    How many portfolio building sessions should I do, if any at all?
    I can’t afford a studio space. My house is older and could use a lot of TLC on the outside. It has gear big windows for lots and lots of Natural light. How do I run a studio out of my home and still look professional? What is the best way to attract hire end clients? Do I start with lower and and build up?

    Thank you Sue for being an awesome inspiration to me. I look forward to this class!

  56. Hi Sue,

    You are such an inspiration to me! You have made me realize that I can do make a living from my photography and I don’t have to give it away.I cannot what for the class on Monday!

    I am wanting to brand myself and I really have not idea of how to do this. How do you start to brand yourself?
    When starting contemporay portraits how many portfolio shoot should you do if any?
    I ‘m just starting out as a business, I cannot afford to rent a studio. My house needs a lot of TLC on the outside.

    How can I run a studio out of my home and still look professional?

    How do you get higher end clients? Do I start with lower end and move up from there? Currently I have no client base. All my work comes from family and close friends.

    No one in my city specializes in contemporary portraits. Everyone does a little bit of everything. I really want to nail down this market in my city.
    Thank you Sue for being so open with everything you have learned!

  57. Hey Sue! I am grateful you are doing a follow up! And that is the block/fear I am working through is the follow up and sales portion with my clients. I suppose I need to watch your videos again. I get my photos done and slight editing but then I go through this wide range of emotions that the client won’t like them or won’t order… I think a majoriy of is just me and I need more practice but if you could touch on scripting or the approach that would help!
    Thanks for all you do!

  58. Hey lady!

    I love following your work. I’ve just graduated college and I’m working on my website and business plan this summer. I would love to know the dos and don’ts for starting a business in photography. I want to focus on capturing the beauty of women, more so with boudoir and glamour portraits with engagements on the side.
    Thank you:)

  59. Can a “supporter” become a “creator” as in the Wealth Dynamics definition? My challenge is interacting, directing, and marketing to clients. I am a supporter, I assist, I encourage, and I am more comfortable behind the scenes. I have no problem interacting or marketing to people about others work that I respect but I lack that ability when it’s about my work. I don’t want to give up my creativity to just assist. I’m am an introvert, it’s my greatest weakness.

  60. Wow… Oh how I assimilate with so many of these women!!

    So many evenings I sit down to watch one of your FABULOUS CLWS and I leave my computer for the night exhilarated & excited bc I’m full of inspiration all over again… I can’t sleep bc I have so many ideas, I feel good & strong and ready to push all that negative talk to the ground & move forward… THEN life gets in the way for a few days and I go back to… “ok, nope not ready yet… better watch a few more workshops & definitely plan a bit more – more notes, more backdrops, more accessories bc I need to be FULLY ready!” OR it’s “I need to build my portfolio more before I start charging so I should book some more FREE portfolio building sessions before I ‘officially’ open my business”… OMG it’s vicious hamster wheel & I’d really like to get off {& quite honestly I think my husband would too}!! lol

    Q: I’m stuck on pricing… accordingly. Where did you start off Sue?? I don’t want to start off ‘cheap’, however I don’t want to put my prices too high either! I’ve been told that it can be difficult to change pricing afterwards as people expect to come back for the same amount (if returning) and if pricing has changed I’ve had clients (yes a handful) challenge & want me to justify :-(. THIS leads me to the next question #2: is it best to just have Package A, B, C with a handful of A-La-Cartes than to a large amount of options??? In the past I have a hard time getting clients to purchase bigger than the 8x10s – however, I’ve never sold in FOLIOS always separate. Perhaps that’s been the problem!

    THANK YOU SUE! Looking forward to this class :-)

  61. Hi, Sue. I love to hear you speak. I call you the Maya Angelou of photography! Lots of wisdom packed in your sessions! Ok so here is my question: When I get a call about booking a session, I get lots of information from the client and let her do most of the talking and in the conversation I tell her about my sessions and what they entail. Then comes the “How much do you charge?” question. I answer it after I know what she is looking for and THEN comes the part where I need help. How do I put into words what makes me better without sounding conceded. My biggest problem is figuring out how to tell her why she should choose me without saying my work is better and I’ll give you a better experience than photographer XYZ. (I don’t mean that in an egotistical way, but in the sea of photographers how do I express why she should use me?) I have a real example of this just happening, but I want to keep this text concise. I guess my elevator pitch needs work. Thank for everything. I’ll be watching on Monday!!!

  62. Hello

    Not sure if this is a hard hitting question but it does deal with how you run your business in this world of social media (fb, twitter, instagram, etc) and has future ripple effects…..

    Question: Are you concerned with posting any of your photographs directly to facebook for example considering their copyright policy (below)– are you concerned that they will profit off of your work or use in a way that takes away from your business or the sake of your art?

    “Sharing Your Content and Information

    You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:

    1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

    2. When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).

    3. When you use an application, the application may ask for your permission to access your content and information as well as content and information that others have shared with you. We require applications to respect your privacy, and your agreement with that application will control how the application can use, store, and transfer that content and information. (To learn more about Platform, including how you can control what information other people may share with applications, read our Data Use Policy and Platform Page.)

    4. When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).

    5. We always appreciate your feedback or other suggestions about Facebook, but you understand that we may use them without any obligation to compensate you for them (just as you have no obligation to offer them).”

  63. Sue

    Firstly, thank you for taking the time to ask us what questions we have and for being so interested in how we are progressing.

    My question is regarding the blocks – business vs personal.

    I’ve been a photographer (as a serious hobby) since I was 15. I’m now 47 and have recently started up my portraiture business from my garage. I am confident in what I do until I start asking for money for my services – I get so nervous and think that I can’t do it. I push through that and my images turn out really well and I have sold some folio boxes. My question is, why would I lose my confidence as soon as I am not photographing for free anymore? Is that a personal block around my confidence/self worth or is that a straight money block? I’ve tried to work this one out for sometime since I first bought 28 days last year. Any clarity will help as I am going around in circles on this one. I have been in the corporate working world since I was 20 so I guess these blocks around having a business and creating the income myself (instead of being an employee) have something to do with it.

    Thanks again.

  64. One of my challenges is tack sharp focusing. I find that sometimes when I am at f/2.5 or so my focus just is not always sharp. I keep trying to make sure that I keep the focus point on the eye but after I check back and zoom in on the back of the monitor it just isn’t sharp. What else can I do to make sure that I get this?

  65. Sue, so thankful you are doing this class, it could not have come at a better time!
    I have built myself into a corner and need help to get out of it winning.
    Just a brief back story… I have built my business on the Sue Bryce model, launching 8 months ago after buying and watching 28 days so many times.
    I followed the process, found hair and MUA to work with, created a portfolio by shooting friends, made the pricing pdf, style guide pdf, new website, business cards, gift voucher, V-flats painted, great studio samples of what I want to sell (folio boxes, 9-up portraits series and a la carte wall prints) found a great studio space and Launched!
    Selling comes easy to me when they love their portraits and I am comfortable with my pricing. Out of 8 shoots, my average sale is $1200 and my top sale is $4000. But therein lies the problem: just 8 shoots in 8 months.
    My marketing with gift vouchers to charity days and womens networking groups generated those, but after my initial busy spurt, it’s dried up. Facebook is not enough and I feel blocked with approaching strangers on the street with a voucher. I also run a commercial photography business that I do not love anymore, but that is paying the bills, so do not want to ignore it, but between that and my family, and the energy used to launch, I feel like I’ve run out of steam. My question: How do I get the numbers through the door when I am time and cash poor. Was I unrealistic and stupid to start a business with no capital, believing that if I build it, they will come? I am about to lose the studio, as I can’t keep up with rent unless I pull something magically out of my hat, and right now if I got lots of bookings, I wouldn’t have the money to cover the hair and MUA costs… are these blocks or time to retreat, plan better and start again more prepared? Thanks so much, would really appreciate some help and advice. Clare x

  66. Thanks for all you continue to offer us Sue, I owe you so much already! I feel like I have a good grip on most of the components of making my studio a success and have little getting in my way. I do have a question though regarding how long I go as a one woman show before I bring on help? I am finding that I’m spending a lot of time editing (which should improve as I shoot more and make less mistakes!), but I can’t get out and market properly in person while chained to my computer editing. That said, my editing is MY photography. Meaning, what people are buying is how I shoot AND my style of editing. It’s as much me in the images as them. How long were you in business before you started to farm out editing or other things to other people and how big a a challenge was it to teach people to replicate you? Laughing out loud at that one since you have 16K followers replicating you now in one way or another on IBWS. ;-) I want to teach my husband to edit to my style as soon as he finishes school at the end of the summer, but I think this could be a ticking time bomb! Love to hear your thoughts and thanks again.

  67. Hi Sue
    This is a great opportunity ­ thank you!
    These are the things I was thinking about during the last weeks:
    1) Target Group: Ok, if we go for the Glamour Experience, then woman are the target group. We might also have different marketing for each demographic group tc. I am really interested though in what goes behind that. For example geographically speaking. I lived in several European countries and also spent a longer time in the US. I seem to notice a difference in how much woman are spending for beauty, how they prepare themselves before going out etc. I am not talking about a block in the sense of “my city is half farmers, I won’t get any customers” etc. I am thinking though that these differences in how woman look at themselves etc. influences somewhat the core marketing message. How are you experiences on that? What have you seen/heard/learned about woman in Asia, Europe or any other non English speaking areas?
    2) Business Failure: I see a lot of photographers take beautiful pictures and telling about not being able to set up a successful business, on the other side I see a lot of old fashioned, traditional portrait studios who seem to be able to make a living out of it. So from all the students you have seen, where do you think are the biggest traps? Or to say it a bit bold: Is it easier to earn money by doing average pictures and having great sales/marketing skills than the other way?
    Looking forward to the course on CL!

  68. Hi Sue, I can’t seem to thank you enough for all you honest teaching and wanting to share your incredible knowledge in order to lift us up as a photographing community … You have changed my entire view on my business and myself as an artist and business woman… THANK YOU seems not even close to how I really feel… You are a true remarkable beautiful woman, inside and out…

    In order to lift my business to the next level I have been working practically day and night to keep up with the many shoots and editing… We have weeks of 2 to 3 shoots a day, with one to 5 and more women…and are booking shoots up until march 2015 as we speak. I would love to run my business and not to let the business run as it does me at the moment… Could you give me some honest advice and pointers on how to deal with the massive workflow, turn around time, how to be able to create a reveal wall at this pace. I also want to combine my glamours more with my wedding clients, how do you go about hens parties of 5 to 15 women? How many poses per woman, how long does a shoot of 15 women take you, turn around edit time, packages towards larger groups of women etc. … I’m sooo in love with my business and the art I get to create for my clients I would like to keep on doing this until I can’t physically do it no more, and being a mom of three little kids have time in the process to enjoy them growing up.

    With the up most respect and the warmest regards, Wendy

  69. Does it hurt my business if I don’t specialize in an area? Is it okay to show multiple genres on my website?

    I’ve done a lot of extended family sessions lately (15-20 people). It’s the grandmother’s that want the shoot and they’re the ones with the money. How do I get the daughter’s / daughter in law’s to buy in to the shoot and want their own?

    Most of my work has come by word of mouth. I want to focus on women. Where do I start with marketing when I haven’t done much in the past?

  70. Sue, cannot wait for Monday. Love the way you always kick my ass :-). My biggest problem or block is marketing. I moved to Peru with my girlfriend about 2 years ago. About 14 months ago after getting few of your CL classes and watching them over and over we started to take it seriously. We moved to departament that has big windows that work perfectly for our natural light studio. We started practicing on my girlfriend’s family and friends. We got addicted and very excited. Some had tears in their eyes when they saw themselves the way we saw them. Wonderful feeling … Some of them bought some prints afterwards, some did not. After while of shooting like that and feeling that we are getting better with quality and the service we deliver to our clients we found a better products and we raised the prices to accommodate that. I have to say that it was scary because majority of people we shot previously told us that we were expensive. That it was too much for just few prints. Yes, I know, I know…. Not our clients but we had to start somehow. So after raising our prices we immediately knew that we had to focus on completely different level and circle of people. Even though we live in the 2nd largest city in Peru there is no other photographer who offers anything close to what we do. Most of people tell us that no one cares about this and we should focus on weddings (don’t know any photog here who is not promoting himself as a wedding one) , because that’s where money is. Anyway, we do shoot only this – Portraiture. Yes, that’s great !!! I already can hear Sal Cincotta saying – yes man, there is a huge opportunity because none does it so you can be a leader, set up a line !!! True, very true. But … Since we started we got 3 paying clients. Yes, only 3… They bought our biggest folio :-). The price for that 20 images folio is about 3 times higher than average wages here. Almost as high as well known photog charges for his weddings. Yes, I dare to charge about $800. My profit is about $350. Import taxes kill everything over here :-).
    Anyway, to find higher level clients, we approached top spas, hair salons, makeup studios, gyms and offered to work together. In few the owner took us up on our offer we did a complimentary photoshoot for them gave away a print or so. They all were like “wow, that’s great, never seen anything like that, feels awesome”. But they finished they sentences with something like “yes, but you know, people here won’t appreciate that, bla bla…. And afterwards it hasn’t seem to work out very well. We went to follow up with them but they are the same ”bla bla…” I know we offer unique experience, product you cannot get anywhere here and great costumer service…. We love doing that !!! But we have no clients to shoot … How to educate them and market us …. ? How to reach those higher circles ….? Thank you Sue.

  71. Hi Sue
    This is a great opportunity ­ thank you!

    These are the things I was thinking about during the last weeks:
    1) Target Group: Ok, if we go for the Glamour Experience, then woman are the target group. We might also have different marketing for each demographic group etc. I am really interested though in what goes behind that. For example geographically speaking. I lived in several European countries and also spent a longer time in the US. I seem to notice a difference in how much woman are spending for beauty, how they prepare themselves before going out etc. I am not talking about a block in the sense of “my city is half farmers, I won’t get any customers” etc. I am thinking though that these differences in how woman look at themselves etc. influences somewhat the core marketing message. How are you experiences on that? What have you seen/heard/learned about woman in Asia, Europe or any other non English speaking areas?

    2) Business Failure: I see a lot of photographers taking beautiful pictures and telling about not being able to set up a successful business, on the other side I see a lot of old fashioned, traditional portrait studios who seem to be able to make a living out of it. So from all the students you have seen, where do you think are the biggest traps? Or to say it a bit bold: Is it easier to earn money by doing average pictures and having great sales/marketing skills than the other way?

    Looking forward to the course on CL!

  72. I have purchased several of your CL courses and absolutely love them for many reasons… They are a wealth of knowledge and I’m thankful to have them.

    Question: I cannot seem to even GIVE AWAY a session for portfolio building and to practice my skills. No one seems interested. It’s frustrating because I am truly attempting to implement all of the practical advice and business tips but there has to be willing participants to complete the action! I’m not sure if this is a “block”, a response to the quality of my work or a combination. I would truly appreciate some guidance in this situation. Thank you!

  73. Hi Sue,
    We are so thankful that you are giving us all this opportunity to once again learn and grow. And congratulations for all the wonderful things happening. Good things are inevitable for you and your generous heart.
    We continue to struggle with getting clients through the studio door as well as pricing. And this becomes a cycle. We set our pricing, get comfortable, present it to clients, get negative feedback about our pricing, then proceed to feel our confidence crumble. So we then re-visit our pricing, our collections, etc and wonder what we should add or do to make it more enticing. We advertised vouchers for Valentines Day and Mothers Day on facebook and, while we got inquiries, that was the extent of it. No takers. We used to charge around $100-$150 session with lower priced prints ($10 8×10, $25 11×14 type deal). We have upped our pricing significantly and created collections but we are still not selling. Right now our collections run from $475 – $1200 and al a carte menu starts at $125 for an 8×12 matted wall portrait. We get interested parties but they seem to balk at what we charge, or we get no response back from them. We are once again looking at reworking our packages because we really want our clients to feel like they are getting a good value for what they are purchasing. We do not want to lose our value within this, so we are having a hard time deciding on what each package should contain. Having customer feedback that our pricing is “shocking” (and that is a direct quote from a current customer) has definitely knocked our confidence, however, we know that our work is worth it.
    Our area is small in local population and is not close to urban or city life. But we do have resort-area traffic as we live near a lake and small golf and ski resort. We are trying to navigate between the locals and the resort clientele. We know that there is potential income from the resort clientele, but we are really wanting to show our locals the value of what we do as well.
    Our main blocks are pricing and self-confidence. We really want to work our way through these blocks so that we can really start selling ourselves, getting people through our door, and doing what we love without this uncertainty lingering in the back of our head. How do we get around these blocks when we value the work that we do but are still getting no response?

  74. Hi Sue,

    Thank you for giving us the opportunity to ask away. I am a children and family photographer in the greater Philadelphia area. I just recently started to get a little busy but we are moving to Florida tomorrow, where we have no friends, no family basically no connections yet. My question is: How do I approach people to take interest in my business without feeling odd? How do I work my business into the conversation without having that fear in the back of my mind that they view me as a sales person? I am not good at talking to people, I am very much on the shy side.
    Is there a way to fake confidence?:)

  75. How to ask a question that hasn’t already been asked before or how to find a topic that you haven’t already previously covered in great detail, now that is a tough one!

    I am always delighted to watch your classes, each time is like finding a missing piece of the never ending puzzle of myself.

    I guess my question is more hypothetical really, maybe even perhaps a little bit of a riddle for you ;) When it is finally time to look down the barrel of the gun or to stand on the edge and peak over, to see what your business is really made of, how do you make sure that you have what it takes to pull the trigger or to take that leap of faith and not destroy everything you have worked so incredibly hard for?

    In the beginning we are all scrapping; trying to get somewhere, trying to make things work, trying to get the ball rolling, trying to get noticed, trying to get money, trying to get everything in order, trying to overcome fears and obstacles, trying to get off the ground. How do we get to the point where we stop trying and start doing?

    How, after all the struggles of getting nowhere, do we finally turn a corner and start going somewhere, without losing that hunger and passion that drives us and started on this journey in the first place? How do we ensure that we never come to the end of ourselves and burn out before we have even really started?

  76. Dear Sue,

    You are the one person who has given me such clarity around what my heart wants to offer women and I’m so grateful for you! I’ve even quoted you on my website! :)

    My background is in Fashion Design/Styling/Dressmaking. Even though I’m working on my MFA in design, I feel such resistance towards the structure of the industry. I want more intimacy. One woman at a time. That’s where you come into the picture!

    During a Sue Bryce marathon last year, you added a complimentary video to 28 days, I can’t seem to find it now. It was about pricing I think. You described what I had been dreaming about to a T! Offering your client a 2 day experience with shopping, styling and Champagne! Since I’m a designer/stylist, I can see how I could offer the dream package of shopping with my client, designing for her and then photographing her! You talked about champagne and conversations and I was in HEAVEN! My dream!

    BUT!!!!!! I am blocked around the possibility of how I could possibly make this happen! I tell myself that if I lived in Beverly Hills or something, this would be a no brainer. But here, deep in suburbia, in the very ‘dry’ High Desert in California, I feel I don’t stand a chance! I’ve set up the studio in my home, I’ve actually taken some photographs of women in what I call one minute gowns…..thanks to you! But I just don’t believe that I can sell this where I am, as I am right now. However it’s what I so desperately desire to do! Deliver the total package like a TV makeover!

    My photography is not excellent, I see an improvement with every session that I do, BUT, I have a ‘black belt’ in everything else! :)

    I hope, with your help, I can break through this one……you’ve already brought me so far!

    Thank you for EVERYTHING that you are and EVERYTHING that you do!


  77. I have two challenges that give me repeated problems:

    Biggest: editing tempo….not in the general retouching. I get that done quickly. I have my tools set up to work WITH me, not a struggle there. Rather, I am working toward Reveal Wall-ready images, so now my fine touches and adding the art (which Alien Skin filter /combo of filters) makes it that drop-dead pierce that I love and they can’t say “no” to. Sue…can you address editing time now that you are presenting nearly every shoot in live, printed images? This is HUGE for me as I refine my working tempo.

    Second: I allow myself a crutch of thinking I look unprofessional since I am primarily shooting out of my home…not a full studio. I reason through this and KNOW that my clients love my work and that my home is just fine for a great client experience. But it’s still an inner demon…whispering in my ear. I would love some other perspective to help get past this while I continue every day toward the studio that I will be working from soon.

  78. Strengths: blessed with amazing gear. Our best profit has come from religious event portraiture, and the occasional senior session. I own incredible tools our industry (4 profoto strobes, canon mk3, mk2… Few modifiers) all obtained before market downturn. For an indoor studio , All I need are few different backgrounds and a couple of striplights and egg crates.

    Weakness: I can only work evening and weekends. I have a wife and business partner who does not support my personal business decision to expand photography to my interests in glamour. I have a shoe string budget. I get killed (no shows) by Day rate studio rentals, hair, makeup to start up a serious portfolio. I spend way too much time on Facebook and photoshop instead of face to face marketing.

    Opportunities: a few previous clients believe in me and seem interested but not quite comfortable? I am drawing a shoot list to practice posing ideas. Sue and creative live and other resources are supporting my continuing education. I believe they are telling me the truth an my ass is working against me.

    Trends: good photography is everywhere, amazing game changing photography is not. I believe in my talent. I just need a place to shoot and still make a profit to support my pursuit of happiness.

  79. Thanks for all you continue to do for us Sue; I already owe you so much! I feel like I understand and know how to do what it takes to be successful. My question concerns when you stop being a one woman show. Right now, my photography and the reason why people are coming to me is because the images and editing are me. Meaning, my style of shooting AND editing is as much me as it is the client in the image. However, I’m taking too long to edit. This should improve as I shoot more and make fewer mistakes, but right now I am chained to a computer to edit which is keeping me from getting out in person to market. At what point did you start to farm out editing or other things to other people so you could shoot and market more? Was it a challenge to teach people to replicate your style of editing? (Laughing out loud since there are 16K people in IBWS trying to replicate you now!) I want to be able to maximize my potential, but my time isn’t free enough yet to do that. I’m interested to hear your thoughts. Thanks again for sharing your inspiration and knowledge with us.

  80. Dear Sue,

    Thank you for all that you do…you are an amazing guide through this photographic adventure/heartache!

    I have two questions:

    1. My target market is primarily 40+ women and hopefully their circles. My heart is really into shooting older women
    60, 70+, but Im struggling as to how to convey the importance of photos for themselves and their families. I don’t
    want to sound morbid, but having lost a parent very young I know how fast life can change and I don’t know how
    to convey it in words in person and also on my website??

    2. Pricing is my arch enemy! I am still working on posing and wondering if I can’t produce 6/10/20 poses bare
    minimum to try and sell, should I start with i.e.. 6/9/12? I charged a client $300. for the business portrait, and
    was told that was obscene. My confidence in pricing is shot and “analysis paralysis” has set in! I feel I can’t
    market or finish my website until I have pricing figured out. I will do vouchers to get clients in the door for the
    session, but am completely stuck as to pricing in Portland!??

    I know others have posed similar questions, so thank you if you are able to answer mine:)

  81. FOR SUE: Sue, first of all I want to thank you for not only being the beautiful amazing person that you are, but for opening up your heart mind and soul to accomplishing what most of us dream to accomplish out of life and showing us fellow photographers that it is possible–that we can do anything that we set our minds to! So thank you from the bottom of my heart for loving us and being a great mentor and teacher to us. I am very grateful.

    This course couldn’t come at a more perfect timing. I first learned about Creative Live last year in June and decided to pursue a photography career. I had just graduated college with a Kinesiology degree and realized that I wasn’t doing something that I loved nor was super passionate about it at the time. A friend told me about Creative Live and before I knew it I was enrolled in your Glamour Photography Course. I was so in “awe” at everything and I knew in my heart that this was my next avenue…

    QUESTIONS: So far I have had my business for almost one year, and I have yet to have a sustaining income with this. I think my biggest struggle is fear/being shy timid/etc…So for that Number 1. How do I get my name out there? Advertisements can be expensive… what is the best way to advertise for your business (other than facebook, and/or gift vouchers) ? I understand from comments above that it can be intimidating going up to people and “giving them a sales pitch” about your business, especially if you are a shy individual. What has worked for you?..

    Number 2. How can we get our clients to understand the value more than”its just taking photographs.” I try really hard to sell them on the experience of it all, but some people can still be stingy with their money and not be willing to pay for their photo’s and/or see the value in them… :(

    Number 3. Online Gallery. For some of my last several photo shoots, I have put their images in an online gallery where they can purchase 4X6’s 5X7’s etc, since those are sizes that average people want. After you do the reveal walls for a client, do you think it would be a good idea to also put their images in an online gallery as well for them to order more prints, or do you strictly keep it all in the studio–FOLIO BOX, CANVASES, etc…? I don’t want to turn away a client if they want smaller prints and not a Folio Box…

    Number 4. What is the best advice you can give to someone who feels “stuck” in their business but is also eager and desperately wants to move forward?… How can they overcome this?..


    Lots of Love!
    <3 Kendall

  82. Hey there Dear Sue,
    So my question comes I believe all comes down to confidence…. and blocks.

    I am feeling better about my photography but I know that I have some blocks and I think that it has to do with fear of success which is something that I never thought I would have a block about. How to overcome this block of fear of success?

    Thanks so much for doing this!

  83. Dear Sue,

    Thanks for doing this. I have been following the 28 days course and things are looking good. I’m starting to earn money with what I love, which is great.

    Question: I don’t show familys, or kids in my website or any social media, still this is the one thing that I get asked to do most of the time, birthdays, events. Women only come to me to ask me for free shoots… Did it happen to you too? I’m doing this other jobs because I have to earn my living and I feel the preasure of getting paid week after week. Should I be taking this kind of jobs too? O will it put me in the minds of people as the “family photographer”…

    Where do people get this idea that I shoot families, birthdays and events…. don’t get it… some light here would be great!

    Thanks for everything!
    A hug from Ecuador!

  84. I have some questions that I’ve often dreamt of talking about in lengths with you.

    1) How can one work through their blocks and fears? Yes, we’ve established them, yes, we’ve started working on them but how would we go about combating them or combating other people who put us back into the place of fear and doubt and blocks?

    2) Any great resources that have helped you work through your fears and blocks to be as strong, confident and successful as you are now?

    3) How would you say you know when someone is following their true path?

  85. Gotta love when you ask for something and it’s received… Thank you for sticking with all of us and genuinely helping us succeed by giving us more & more of you. So grateful for your continued support.

    1. Culling/Editing/Retouching/Style toning…. Since this is our most creative time I can get lost in it even after desperately trying to structure it. I have a hard time trying not to over shoot, over select and taking way too much time. I was never able to follow your 2 minute rule despite being very fast in ps but I find myself always wanting to finish an image and have since decided to go forward with the reveal wall since I usually will fully finish the image.

    2. After spending all that time editing, it’s always difficult with the rejection. I’ve learned a few lessons along the way on educating prospects as my old client’s rejected my new genre due to pricing. But I still get buyers remorse or client’s who will cancel their payment plan after a few months of payments. How do you go about handling situations like such with dignity and without putting the “this is why I charge and why the experience was worth it” emails/conversations to such clients? It seems like people have no problem jumping on board of a complimentary experience but not feel it necessary to compensate someone for their work.

    3. Growing Pains. At what point do you know your business can take on employees & hiring staff financially. I am overworked and overwhelmed with wearing all the hats of running a solo business and really need help so I can photograph & network more… but I am still in that stage with bank acct yo-yo. I’ve struggle with the idea of having interns who have no real commitment and paid employees who I may be paying to educate so they can leave and begin their own photography business. I know you have briefly touched on the subject of staff but you also mentioned how many you have trained along the way who have their own photography businesses. I don’t plan to move anytime soon and dread the idea of training next weeks competition. I would love to hire an office manager but I don’t know when you should. I have been trying to outsource retouching but haven’t been successful with one person yet which is costing me time & money too…. upfront since client’s haven’t even previewed & purchased yet.

    Hard to build a support system with little money to allocate to it but need to hire that person to manage the money so you can eventually know it’s allocated & managed properly, Not knowing what next month is going to bring, working your ass off and having your hard work fall thru, and becoming exhausted in the process/cycle. Trying not to whine in the process lol. But trust me, I do get up everyday eager to go to work doing what I love. My motivation has not ever changed… just looking to be smarter at running a “real” business.

    Hope these are real business questions. I am truly grateful you have dedicated another time to open up the Q/A’s for us. Our hearts will all break if you ever fade away.

  86. Hi Sue, I have several challenges at the moment. The first is time management. I want to do portraiture part time and continue to pursue my music performance career but I feel like I’m not taken seriously as a photographer because of this. I am trying to specialize in portraits of performing artists but am finding them very flaky and difficult to get to commit to arranging a shoot date. I have created a pricing pdf and have found a pro-printing lab and products that I love, but of course the majority of people I photograph only want the digital files. I know I’m charging too little for these but they gasp already and tell me I’m too expensive. I’m also struggling to incorporate instruments into the posing in a convincing manner – do you have any advice for using props? Thank you so much, I’m still working my way through 28 days but as I’m not creating an exact glamour portrait studio I’m floundering a bit. Can’t wait for this next installment xxx

  87. Hi Sue,
    I have watched you for well over a year now, both online and live (MWP in Las Vegas) and indeed it looks very easy. I /we own a very small studio (AtomicAngel Photography) and it just seems that I am facing two very frustrating issues, 1) We are having a very hard time trying to get “bums in seats” or to fill our schedule. What or how would you suggest that a very small (no ad budget) boutique studio do to increase their number of paying clientele?

    and the second one

    2.) How do/did you go about building a team for your studio??? Do you interview them?? Do you discuss with them your philosophy?? How does this happen especially in the beginning when there is no money to pay them well, and then when the local laws about hair and makeup prevent me from doing it myself, so how do I/we build a teams when the laws seem to be stacked against you.

    I look forward to being able to watch, it is always exciting and like I am watching a girlfriend! Peace, Love and Happiness!

Leave a Comment